Let’s talk smoothies, shall we? Growing up, I wasn’t much of a smoothie girl. I didn’t mind them, but we didn’t have the equipment or knowledge to make them at home.. Smoothies are tricky little guys. They can be extremely healthy or extremely unhealthy. They can be unhealthy in the sense that they are packed with hidden sugar.
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The average SMALL fruit smoothie from most chain smoothie restaurants pack around 500 calories and 92 grams of sugar! For comparison, 1 glazed donut is 190 calories and 10 grams of sugar. So in terms of sugar, 9 glazed donuts are equivalent to 1 small strawberry smoothie. Personally, if I am going to eat something packed with that much sugar, I would much rather eat a piece of cake or a chocolate chip cookie. So, why am I acting like a smoothie can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? If you make your own smoothie and know what you are putting in it, a smoothie can be a nutrient packed, healthy breakfast or snack. Here are a few benefits of replacing your breakfast/snack with a green (and delicious) smoothie.
- Smoothies help you get in your fruits and vegetables. This is by far my favorite thing about smoothies. If most of you are like me, getting in the daily recommended servings of vegetables is a challenge. I usually don’t have a problem with fruit (cue sweet tooth), but I always struggle with getting in my greens. Luckily, with smoothies you can get in a serving or more of greens without even tasting them. Throw in a cup or two of spinach and/or kale and you can barely taste it! Do this, and you are beginning your day with your first serving of greens!
- Smoothies are quick and easy to make. Smoothies can be an alternative to breakfast that doesn’t require heating up the stove or oven. Just grab the ingredients out of your fridge, throw them in a blender and voila! You have a healthy and delicious meal to energize your day.
- Smoothies are a great on the go meal. In an ideal world, I would wake up 30 minutes early to sit and enjoy my smoothie out on the patio while reading a new book . If you haven’t caught on, that is just not my reality. I want as much shut eye as possible so I usually make my smoothie and throw it in a to-go cup to take with me on my drive to work.. Smoothies don’t require a fork or knife so no extra dishes! I’d call that a win-win!
- Easier Digestion. Experts say our bodies have an easier time digesting smoothies versus raw fruits and vegetables. This is because the blender has done most of the work for us. The food is already broken down which allows our bodies to quickly absorb the nutrients packed in the smoothie.
- They are delicious. Smoothies honestly just taste great. If you’re new to adding vegetables to your diet or smoothies, I recommend starting with small portions and working your way up to a desired taste. If I don’t have my smoothie in the morning, I can definitely tell the difference in how my body and mind feel throughout the day. Believe me, just ask my husband.
Okay, okay! We know you love smoothies Jordan and we get the benefits of them! What do I do next? Well, here’s the deal. When I started on this clean eating journey, the first smoothie I made I threw away. Why? Because I didn’t know the basics of smoothie making! After doing some research and a good bit of trial and error, I finally figured out a method to the madness. I guess you could call me a smoothie master? Okay, maybe not a smoothie master. But I’ve been making a smoothie for breakfast almost every day for the past four years. Here are some tips and tricks you can use so that you don’t have to spend four years perfecting your smoothie making craft.
- A good base. A base is the liquid portion of your smoothie that goes in the blender. There are TONS of great bases (e.g. almond milk, coconut milk, water, organic dairy milk, greek yogurt) I try and stay away from dairy when I can so I usually use unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Try and keep your base unsweetened since the fruit in your smoothies will be your sweetener. So if you’re going to use greek yogurt as your base, use plain unsweetened greek yogurt. Try and stay away from any concentrated juices (e.g. orange juice, cranberry juice) that you don’t make yourself. A lot of these juices have hidden sweeteners and can turn your smoothie into a sugar bomb if you’re not careful.
- A frozen component. I have noticed that if you want a good smoothie consistency, one component of your smoothie should be frozen. I usually use frozen bananas or other frozen fruit. You can buy the organic frozen fruit in the freezer section of your local grocery store or you can buy the fruit fresh and freeze it yourself. You could also freeze your greens (e.g. spinach, kale, swiss chard). If you are a green smoothie newbie and are scared of adding greens to your smoothie, freezing them will make your smoothie taste less “green” than if you used fresh greens.
- Always add banana. This is my personal preference but every smoothie that I have ever made with banana has tasted great. Bananas give your smoothies a creamy consistency and also sweeten it just enough. I have tried many different variations of smoothies but realized I ALWAYS ended up adding in a banana. I usually use half a banana for one serving but you can always add in a whole banana if you desire a sweeter taste.
- A good blender. I cannot reiterate this enough. Remember how I told you I had to throw my first homemade smoothie away? Among other reasons, I quickly realized my ten dollar blender was pretty good at turning my smoothie into a lumpy mess. The last thing you want in the morning is to be drinking your smoothie and get a mouthful of unblended kale. After one too many of these lumpy fiascos, my family invested in a Vitamix and it immediately CHANGED MY LIFE. Once I tasted my first smoothie made out of a Vitamix, I was hooked. Now let’s talk how much these things cost. A Vitamix is definitely on the pricey side. However, they are a great investment for your health and will last a heck of a lot longer than the ten dollar blender I was referring to earlier. If you want a Vitamix but don’t want to pay for a new one, you can buy a used or refurbished Vitamix for a much more reasonable price. A Vitamix is also great for making things like soups, salsas and, one of my personal favorites, cauliflower mashed potatoes. If you still aren’t convinced to invest in a Vitamix, I have friends who use Nutribullets and Ninja blenders and they all love them. I’ve only used a Vitamix so that’s the only option I can personally recommend.
- Add the good stuff. I will share my basic smoothie recipe at the bottom of this post, but after you’ve mastered that you can start playing with the add-ins. My favorite add-ins are flaxseed , hempseed, a plant based protein powder , and maca powder . Other add-in ideas are chia seeds , alma powder , or cacao powder . When you decide what add-ins you want, make sure to check the serving size. I add in a table spoon of some add-ins and a teaspoon of others depending on the serving size.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, check out my basic, but delicious, smoothie recipe! If you follow this recipe, your smoothie will taste great no matter what you put in it! You can always edit this to your liking depending on which ingredients you prefer. Sometimes I’ll add more or less greens depending on how I’m feeling that day! Just a heads up, this smoothie recipe is for one person. If you plan to make this smoothie for more than one person, adjust the recipe accordingly (i.e. double the serving sizes).
The Perfect Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup liquid base (almond milk, coconut milk, water, organic diary milk, etc.)
- 2 cups greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.)
- ½ frozen banana
- 1 cup fruit (strawberries, pineapple, apple, mango, watermelon, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon add-in (flaxseed, hemp seed, chai seed, etc.)
- Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? If so, leave it in the comments section below and I’d love to try it!